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School of Nursing receives more than $1 million to help meet nursing demand

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

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Media Contact: Susan Slupecki

The University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing has received more than $1 million in funding for a project—partnering with Texas Health Resources (THR)—to help meet the nursing demand by providing a hospital-based accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

A three-year $556,291 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be added to THR’s in-kind donation, which is realized through THR’s employment benefits. The $664,848 helps with the payment of tuition, fees, and student (employee) support/salary.

The project, titled "LEARN (Leveraging Existing Academic Resources in Nursing)" is aimed at increasing enrollment, maximizing graduation rates, and improving readiness to practice of graduate nurses by leveraging existing faculty and hospital-based resources.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a need for more than one million new and replacement registered nurses by 2012. While significant progress has been made, it is estimated that Texas nursing schools will have to increase the number of initial RN licensure graduates by 50 percent by 2010 to meet the demands of the population in 2020.

“We will not be able to meet that demand using the traditional educational approaches we have in place today,” said Dr. Beth Mancini, professor and associate dean for undergraduate nursing programs and administrator of the School of Nursing’s Smart Hospital, who will provide direction, coordination and oversight to the LEARN project. “That’s why innovative educational strategies such as this partnership with Texas Health Resources are so vital.”

The program will be administered through the UT Arlington School of Nursing, and will be compressed to 15-months in duration by using the summer session to provide a full semester’s worth of courses. The first cohort of students will begin Junior 1 course work in May 2008 and graduate in August 2009. This compares to the School of Nursing’s current initial RN-licensure program, which requires 21 to 24 months to complete depending on whether the student is admitted in the fall or spring semester. The target group for this program will be current THR employees and second-degree students willing to commit to two years employment with THR. LEARN students will complete their courses and be eligible for licensure in 29 to 37 percent less time than the traditional program.

“THR is proud to continue to partner with academic communities in order to support an adequate nursing workforce for the future,” said David Eubanks, MSN, RN administrative director for clinical learning for Texas Health Resources. “It’s another way we are improving the health of the communities we serve.”

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in theUnited States. The system serves more than 6.3 million people living in 16 counties in north central Texas. THR has 13 hospitals with more than 3,300 licensed hospital beds, employs more than 18,250 people and counts more than 3,700 physicians with active staff privileges at its hospitals.

The School of Nursing is one of the 20 largest schools of nursing in the United States, offering the full range of educational degrees including BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, Post Masters, BSN-Ph.D. and doctorate programs to more than 1,000 students. Visit www.uta.edu/nursing for more information.

Texas Health Resources: Reace Alvarenga Smith, APR, (817) 462-6390, reacealvarenga-smith@texashealth.org

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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